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Stocking questions

Discussion in 'Aquascaping' started by travdawg, Apr 11, 2005.

  1. travdawg

    travdawg Guru Class Expert

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    My 90 gallon dream is coming closer to reality. I could have it up as early as the last week of May! I do however have some stocking questions. I plan on lacing the SS with mulm from my small 10 gallon, as well as mulm scav'd from my LFs. I plan on planting heavily (not sure what all plants yet, that is to be discussed later as well) and will have the following equipment :

    2 2x65 Coralife Aqualights (2 10k & 2 6700)
    1 Rena Filstar XP3
    4" of Eco Complete
    Rock & wood hardscape
    HOPEFULLY a UV sterilizer
    Pressurized Co2

    My plans for fish are :

    8 Oto's
    1 Bristlenose
    6 or so Cory
    4 SAE
    6 yo-yo loaches
    6 kuhli loaches
    12ish silver hatchetfish
    12ish raspboras
    12ish rummynose tetras

    any problems with these fish? What should I start to stock with?

    opinions/advice welcome.

    (repost from another forum)
     
  2. Ian H

    Ian H Guru Class Expert

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    Re: Stocking questions

    That's a potentially nice set-up. Personally I'd forget the UV and put the money into a good Eheim filter. You will need a serious amount of eco (expensive) to get to 4".

    Your tank, even with the mulm addition will need to be cycled. Start with very hardy fish like zebra danios or do a fishless cycle. When it has cycled add fish slowly, keeping an eye on the ammonia and nitrate levels.

    The fish choice is OK, personally I don't like kuhli's, look like stripey worms and tend to climb out of the tank. The otto's I would add when your water parameters are very stable and when the water has matured.

    Think about plants as well of course.

    Ian
     
  3. fosteder

    fosteder Guru Class Expert

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    Re: Stocking questions

    My suggestion would be almost the opposite of Ian's......sorry threadkiller. :D

    If you plant heavily during the initial set up, there really isn't a need to cycle the tank like normal. Because the ammonia levels never reach high levels due to the plants absorbing the ammonia. That being said I wouldn't dump your entire stock list in there at once either. ;)

    I like the XP's...easy to take apart and clean. I have no experience with Eheim...I'm sure you get your money's worth. I agree that you may not really need the UV sterilizer. It may come in handy once in a while but maybe not worth the money? I don't know. I know I have been keeping fish for 14 years without one.
     
  4. Ian H

    Ian H Guru Class Expert

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    Re: Stocking questions

    Just an alternative view, no problems with that. Either way you've got to keep an eye on the water chemistry.

    The tank still cycles, the nitrifying bacteria colonies need to be built up. If your plants absorb too much ammonia the bacteria go hungry. And yes do not stock too quickly, no matter how much you're tempted.

    I quoted the Eheim because I've had a 2213 running for over 20 years now without a hitch. In my 40 years plus of fish keeping I've never needed a UV. :gw :D

    Ian
     
  5. fosteder

    fosteder Guru Class Expert

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    Re: Stocking questions

    40 years...the voice of experience...hence the old man preaching... :gw

    Ah, but if you cycle a tank in a typical manner and build up your bacteria levels, then add plants, you will have bacteria die off anyway, because there isn't enough ammonia/nitrite to support the colony.

    Different methods.....same goal....same result. This is what forums are all about. :D

    You're not the first person I have heard that has kept an eheim for that long. No doubt they are the best there is.
     
  6. Ian H

    Ian H Guru Class Expert

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    Re: Stocking questions

    On that basis, BTW this isn't my grumpy old man mode :gw , In my tank because of the excessive plant growth, I can assume my bacteria are dead eh? Or is there something I'm missing?

    Ian
     
  7. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Lifetime Charter Member
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    Re: Stocking questions

    fosteder/Ian H/travdawg,
    Not trying rain on your Ammonia parade but you should read this thread:
    http://www.barrreport.com/forums/showthread.php?t=385

    In this thread Tom Barr indicates that the hypothesis regarding plant preference for NH4 at concentrations found in the aquarium is another myth. Apparently, Nitrogen will be the subject of an upcoming article. He confirms that the supposed competition between nitrifying bacteria and plants for NH4 is fantasy, therefore the nitrogen cycle within the tank will be unaffected and thus unimpeded. I gather from that discussion that the plants will in all likelyhood contribute to the bacteria buildup merely by shedding leaves, and if not removed will decay to provide NH4 for the bacteria.

    If I extrapolate further, I would venture that travdawg's proposal to think fish first and plants later is somewhat "cart-before-horse" Why not get as many plants in as quickly as possible, optimize your dosing/CO2/water change regimen, adjust your aquascape as often as you like and after a few weeks add whatever fish strike your fancy? That's just my opinion though. I can stare endlessly at a planted tank without critters. Staring is how you learn the characteristic and foibles of each plant, where it likes to be, what conditions suit it best, how it changes from emersed state to submersed stat, growth rates etc. - fascinating stuff. It may all sound very cosmic, but this is a plant forum after all. I would worry about the fish later, what's the rush - there's plenty of time. Throw whatever fish type you want in the tank so long as they are not plant eaters is what I reckon.

    Also, if you add the plants first you don't need to transfer mulm/material, and any possible pathogens, from one tank to possibly infect another.

    I second the motion against a UV sterilizer although I suppose you could argue that it kills the pathogens and algae spores (I have no proof of that but everyone says so). Clean water and regular maintenance has the same effect though, and as Ian H pointed out you can use the money to buy other things...Eheim, substrate... or gee, howabout more plants?!!!

    Cheers,
     
  8. fosteder

    fosteder Guru Class Expert

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    Re: Stocking questions

    I didn't mean to insinuate you were a grumpy old man….haha! I was just calling the icon "the old man preaching". I didn't mean that statement to have any bite to it. :D

    Here is an article on "Chuck's Planted Aquarium Pages" that describes the logic in detail, if you are interested. http://www.csd.net/~cgadd/aqua/art_plant_newtank.htm

    I wouldn't assume that your bacterial colony is dead, just smaller than it would be if you had no plants. If you had a decent fish load, with a lot of plants and you took out all the plants and left the fish, I'm betting that you would cause the tank to go through a "mini cycle" because the bacterial population would need time to multiply to handle the amount of ammonia that the plants were no longer consuming.

    Think about it this way. If my wife and I split a pizza on most Friday nights and she eats half and I eat half, there is none left over. But if I leave to go out with the guys and she still orders the same pizza, she is going to be a little overwhelmed with the amount she needs to consume to eat it all. It will take her some practice and extra weight to eat it all. Same with your bacteria. :D
     
  9. Ian H

    Ian H Guru Class Expert

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    Re: Stocking questions

    Interesting points, I'd better watch out when I reduce my fish load soon.

    Ian
     
  10. travdawg

    travdawg Guru Class Expert

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    Re: Stocking questions

    Hey, if your wife has any leftover pizza, have her call me!!! :)

    I am going to start off with my tank heavily planted... Hopefully ~ 24 hours from planting to adding fish. If I were adding only danios, or something more hearty, or the tanks water was "settled" (ie in service a few months) then I wouldnt worry so much about it.... But its a new tank, with "fresh" water... I dont want to add a load of fish just to have them die...

    When I said the thing about the plants, I meant I would determine what plants I would be adding in a later post!
     
  11. jimjim

    jimjim Junior Poster

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    Re: Stocking questions

    Just my .02 worth but Tom has pretty much proved that substrate fertilizing isn't all that important to aquatic plants. Dosing ferts via the water column seems to do better and its seems to be easier to control alge from the getgo. I just set up two tanks for my own benefit, one my old way with potting soil and sand and one with just sand. Now 10 weeks later the one with the soil is just covered with alge no matter what I did and the plain sand with Fluorish ferts just blossumed. Tore down the tanks today(too many Tang fry) and sold the entire lot of plants to the LFS. Got twice as much plants from the sand bottom and water column fertilizing. So my thought is, why buy expensive potting soil like Ecocomplete and etc..Jimjim :gw
     
  12. Cornhusker

    Cornhusker Guru Class Expert

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    Re: Stocking questions

    :) travdawg,thats a good list of fish. if in doubt, try seachem's new product called STABILITY, has worked great for me. :) :) regards,cornhusker
     
  13. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Re: Stocking questions

    I do not agree with Chuck Gadd's site on new tank set ups.

    When you start up a new tank, start with the bottom of the food chain, the plants.

    You build the foundation first in any ecosystem.

    Better to have more plants than too few.

    Bacteria? They are just there to breakdown the left overs.
    So those costly porous substrates have lots of homes for the bacteria and help cycle the waste better, they really are not a nutrient "source", more, a nutrient cycling site.

    What the plants do not get, the bacteria will. Better to have bacteria than algae.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  14. derekparr

    derekparr Junior Poster

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    Re: Stocking questions

    This has kind of turned into a "cycling" thread rather than a "stocking" thread... but so be it.. ;]

    A few months ago Diana Walstad did a presentation at our local aquarium club meeting and she postulated that the nitrifying bacteria spends hangs out on the plants just as much as the substrate and filter. I further postulate that putting a bunch of plants in at the beginning of a new tank would generally skip most of the cycling process since along with the plants using the ammonia, there would be nitrifying bacteria that hitched a ride on the plants doing its thing. Of course I have no evidence. Just a question masquerading as a theory.

    So.. any thoughts on that? Does it make any since?
     
  15. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Re: Stocking questions

    Well where does the fish waste go?
    Does it float or disperse into the water column?
    No, it floats down, down to where?
    The substrate.

    Roots, bacteria etc all live there. The leaf surfaces are covered with a number of things. But they do not have the same type of flow as a filter media, it's in the light, algae will do well there and get the NH4/NO3 as well as the plants and the plants will use up more NH4 than either of the others.

    With a CO2 enriched tank, the cycling from bacteria takes a more reduced % role, but can be amplified and sped up more by using a porous high surface area media for the substrate.

    As the plant growth increases, so will the cycling of waste.
    It's not just a function of plant biomass for surface area.

    Fewer plants will have less surface area for bacteria.
    So the amount of plant biomass will make a huge difference.

    Bacteria are not strong competitiors in terms of amount of N removed/transformed, but, plants have little issues using NO3 also.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
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